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March 2011
March 2011: SISTER JOLENE PACHAY (entered eternal life on November 21, 2013)
“God bless you.” These three words are a frequently spoken phrase of our Sister Jolene Pachay. Her message echoes the words of St. Francis to Brother Leo: “The Lord bless you and keep you.” (Numbers 6:24)
From Chicago to Springfield
“I was born on February 16, 1914, in Chicago, IL, to Joseph and Karoline (Kreitner) Pachay,” Sister Jolene explained. “My father was Hungarian, and my mother was Austrian, and as a child, my mother considered being a nun. My parents instilled in me a good work ethic. I had four siblings, and we were just ordinary children who learned, early on, the importance of being honest. When I was five, we moved to Antioch, IL, where I lived until after graduating from high school,” she added. In 1940, while working in downtown Chicago, she would attend Mass at Old St. Peter’s in the Loop, and on one occasion, she met Mother Magdalene Wiedlocher, who was then our Provincial Superior of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, there in one of the church pews. “Unbeknownst to me, Father Leander Conley (who was the pastor of St. Peter’s) must have recognized my possible vocation and arranged for Mother Magdalene to visit and talk with me. So there in the church I talked with her, and she recruited me. It was that simple. I gave it serious thought and the rest was God’s plan. I entered on September 7, 1940,” she said.
Service with a smile
Sister Jolene earned a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Fontbonne College, St. Louis, MO, in 1946. For over 30 years, she served as a dietician in our hospitals in Decatur, Springfield, Chippewa Falls, Belleville, Highland, and Litchfield. She then served at our Motherhouse in purchasing along with responsibilities with the switchboard. Answering the phone then became second nature as she was the switchboard operator at HSHS from 1990-1995. “The priority in my work was to be cheerful - plain and simple. When you’re cheerful, it can have a positive impact, and I prayed that I would somehow brighten everyone’s day,” she said.
“I’ve learned in my life that many times our plan isn’t God’s plan, and it can be really difficult to accept. But in the end, all we have to do is trust in God,” she concluded.

Hospital Sisters of St. Francis 4 849 LaVerna Road, Springfield, IL 62707 (217)522-3386
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